(PQB News file photo)

Development permit granted for 60-unit building project in French Creek

RDN staff indicated a water study will soon be conducted in the French Creek area

The Regional District of Nanaimo board has granted a development permit for a proposed 60-unit phased building strata in French Creek.

The board approved the building permit after hearing Neil Carfra of Cox Taylor, legal counsel of the developers, who appeared as a delegation at the board’s regular meeting on June 22. Electoral Area G (French Creek, San Pareil, Little Qualicum, Englishman River) director Lehann Wallace voted against.

The approval for development permit application was deferred at the Electoral Area Services Committee meeting on June 7 as Wallace wanted staff to complete a previous board motion made last December on the regional district’s development authority options for the French Creek area to protect at-risk or stressed aquifers.

READ MORE: French Creek Estuary owners poised to donate more than 12 acres as parkland

RDN staff indicated a water study will soon be conducted in the French Creek area but the report would not be available until first quarter of 2022.

Carfra told the board “that’s going to be an enormous delay and a prejudicial one.”

Carfra pointed out the developers have already met the guidelines specified in the Official Community Plan and now wants to get all the work done to advance the project. He said they will not be tapping on the aquifer as they’ve already secured a contract with EPCOR to supply the water. There’s also no plans to build a new water supply system.

The first phase of the 60-unit development is for 10 dwellings fronting Lee Road situated close to the French Creek Marina. The whole development will feature a variety of housing sizes and types that include single detached units and duplex units.

Wallace has serious raised concerns about the dwindling water resources in French Creek and whether there will be enough to meet the demands of the rapidly growing community.

“I opposed approval of the development permit because there may not be enough water to complete the 60 units,” said Wallace. “This puts further development pressure on the aquifers in the French Creek Area and instead we need to strike a balance between available water resources and sustainable development.”

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

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Nanaimo Regional District